I always wondered how the drivers of steam locomotives could observe the road.

  • $\begingroup$ Why are car drivers put in front of the car front bumper? Be a good way to stop tailgating... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Oct 20, 2020 at 4:30
  • $\begingroup$ what was your research so far? $\endgroup$
    – mart
    Oct 20, 2020 at 4:59
  • $\begingroup$ How would you stoke the firebox? $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Oct 20, 2020 at 10:20
  • $\begingroup$ @PhilSweet i do not strike the firefox or please explain $\endgroup$
    – Anixx
    Nov 1, 2020 at 0:29

1 Answer 1


There have been some locomotives with this design, it's called "Cab forward."

As the article says, Southern Pacific railroad in the US had some cab forward locomotives, which solved crew asphyxiation problems on some mountain routes where there were multiple tunnels and snow sheds.

The downsides to the design were concerns about what would happen to the crew in a collision, and leaks from oil lines since the boiler was in front of the drive wheels and the oil tank was behind them.

  • $\begingroup$ But the most diesel and electric locomotives are cab forward, how do they deal with the collision risks? $\endgroup$
    – Anixx
    Oct 20, 2020 at 8:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Anixx - big incentive for drivers to obey signals. $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2020 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Anixx diesel and electric systems don't have a big tank of water kept at 400F just waiting to burst forth along the line of travel and roast everything and everyone in its path. Steam that hot will literally melt the flesh from your bones if you get hit by it. $\endgroup$
    – Perkins
    Jan 26, 2022 at 20:08

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